Insights & Ideas

C’mon get happy: 5 ways to increase positivity at work

Man smiling looking away from camera

Should you spend time trying to make work a brighter place? Positively.

We all spend a lot of time at work. A. Lot. 90,000 hours for the average person over the course of their working life.* If we’re going to spend a third of our lives at work, we might as well make the best of it by cultivating a culture of positivity at work. (Anyway, positive workplaces are more productive, creative, and financially successful.**)

Sure, a positive culture starts with company leadership, but almost anyone can make an impact. Here are five reminders on what to do:

1. Ensure people feel confident and challenged

Check in regularly to make sure employees have challenging work without feeling “over their head”. Clear goals, development opportunities, reasonable work hours, and a supportive team go a long way.

2. Give people the latitude to be creative (and heard)

Chances are, your workmates have great ideas about how to make the business better—so make it easy for employees to voice their opinions and share ideas. Recognize employees for “idea of the month,” “feedback of the week”, or even “funniest story of the week”. People are happier when they’re heard and encouraged to innovate. (They might be even more with a small gift card or piece of company swag as a reward.)

3. Celebrate successes—big and small

Look for the positive aspects in every situation and celebrate them. Start announcing “wins for the week”—whether there’s big news to celebrate or everyday victories. (Focus especially on the everyday victories.) Recognizing the small successes—even if you’re going through a rough patch—helps everyone feel appreciated and stay optimistic.

4. Mix up the way you communicate or interact with your team

Do you have team meetings at the same time, in the same format, and same place every week? Consider a little variety. Meet at different times of the day, change up the format, reorder the order of business, or add fun icebreaker-like activities and team challenges.

5. Encourage social interactions

Give your colleagues something extra to look forward to during the workday (or after it). It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Simple things—like wellness challenges, book clubs, trivia contests, happy hours, or lunch buddies (even remotely)—can be monotony-busters.

When employees feel good about coming to work, they work better. Using communication, recognition, fun, and (sometimes) the element of surprise; you’ll help your colleagues make their 90,000 hours a positive experience.

At Salo, we match senior consultants in HR, finance, and accounting with organizations that need their help. If you need help with workplace culture, we have expert HR consultants that can help.

John Flayter
John Flayter

John Flayter

Managing Director, Chicago Human Resources